Monday, June 7, 2010

Lessons From Our Timorese Family

Earlier (or should I say yesterday) our community had a despedida (farewell) party in honor of our missionary family. It was supposed to be a surprise but we already knew about it since hubby was the one who suggested it to our co-missionary, Karen, in the first place. Of course, we didn't let on that we knew so as not to spoil it for the others, who came prepared with food galore and well-wishes and farewell gifts.

Needless to say, it was an afternoon that left me with swollen eyes and an overflowing heart. I couldn't help but let the tears flow when our brothers and sisters started saying their messages, especially our young mission volunteers and fulltime workers. They are the FUTURE of the community here, and in effect contribute to the future of the Church as well.

It was especially tear-jerking because most of the farewell messages were meant not just for hubby and I, but especially for our two children, who were both born here on mission in Timor Leste. Our community members here call them "their children," "their younger brother and sister" and yesterday's despedida was a testimony to God's amazing love, that unites us all as one family, no matter what race, color, language or nationality. What a beautiful lesson for us all.
 We were also dressed up in traditional Timorese "tais", beautifully hand-woven with love by our lovely CFC women from Ermera. Even the kids had their own "tais".
I was crying so much when they started putting on the "tais." And also when they were giving their gifts for the kids. Our Timorese brethren here are much less fortunate than our own families back home, yet I could see the richness of their hearts as they bestowed their gifts and well-wishes upon our family. It taught me to be ever more grateful for what God has blessed us with, and firmed up my resolve to teach our kids to live lives that are pleasing to the Lord in the service of others.

Another lesson learned (or rather re-learned) is that being in community, one has the blessing of a positive, faith-filled support environment. And not just for yourself, but for your kids as well! What greater way for your child to develop his socialization skills than exposing him to community activities. Hubby and I were amazed just now because Tim was happily playing with his Timorese friends, despite him speaking only English and them speaking Tetun. Indeed, the language of play and laughter knows no boundaries!

But probably the most important lesson learned here was this: One should never limit the ways and means that our great God has to show us and affirm us that He alone has the BEST plans for us, He alone knows what we need and desire, and above all things, HE ALONE IS ENOUGH! Maromak deit to'o ona mai ami! God is enough for us! Obrigadu barak ba ami nia familia tomak iha Timor Leste! Thank you so much to our family in Timor Leste! We love you and will miss you dearly!

Here are more pics from our despedida. :) After all the well-wishes and giving of gifts, we were asked to give our own messages, and then were prayed over by the entire community. A cake-cutting and wine-pouring ceremony preceded the fellowship, the food was brought ala "potluck" by CFC from the different parishes. We were so blessed to have Fr. Alan and Fr. Ferdie, two very Charismatic and supportive priests with us all throughout the day (they had been there since the morning for the Vocations Forum and Closing Mass of the Singles for Christ conference).
Ba ami nia maun-alin doben sira iha Timor Leste - Ami nia mensajem ba ita boot sira husi Saun Paulo nia surat ba Sarani sira iha Efeso 5:29-30:  
29Ema ida la hirus nia isin lolon, maibe nia fo han no tau matan ba nia nudar Kristu tau matan ba Kreda. 30Ita hotu Kristu nia isin lolon nia liman ain. 31 
 No moos: 
 19Koalia ba malu ho liafuan salmu nian, ho knananuk no dadolin santu nian, hodi hananu knananuk no salmu ba Na’i, hodi hahi Nia iha imi nia laran. 20Iha Na’i Jesus Kristu nia naran, fo agradese ba Aman Maromak tamba buat hotu. 21Haraik an ba malu ba tamba imi hamtauk Kristu. (Efeso 5: 19-21)

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